Monday, May 14, 2018

Amazon, Whole Foods, and Robots!


I've been "gone" for awhile. Life took an interesting twist (to say it nicely) and I'm still recovering from it.

This happened today though and I just so totally cannot leave it alone.

I sent an email to Amazon/Fresh/Whole Foods/365 (not sure how to refer to them) asking when the grocery service would be available in my area.

The email I received in response:

Hi !

We’re downright thrilled that you’d like a 365 by Whole Foods Market store near you. We will keep track of your request and share it with our store development team.

For information about 365 by Whole Foods Market stores coming soon, visit: [web address].

And one last note: this email is an auto-reply. Due to the high volume of store location requests we receive, we are unable to respond personally to each one. If you have another question, please re-submit your question using a different category on our customer care page at [web address] ; we’ll get right back to you as quickly as we can.

Many thanks,
365 by Whole Foods Market Customer Care Team

I added the emphasis (bold and red).

I can accept that it's an auto-reply. I'm sure they get this question more often than one can count on 20,000 fingers and 20,000 toes and having a webpage to automatically direct people to is clearly a wise way to handle this question.

But then things took a turn for the weird...

Next I received the following email (clearly automated):

Hi ,

Thanks for contacting Whole Foods Market Customer Care. We hope we were able to help, and would appreciate if you took a minute to tell us how we did by completing this quick survey. 
How was your experience working with our customer care team?
4-Very Good
2-Not so good

We look forward to serving you again soon!
Your Whole Foods Market Customer Care Team

Um... eh?

So first their robot responded to me with a link to click, to read more.

Then one of their robots sends me an automated email, asking me how my experience with their "customer care team" was...

This is ... T.E.R.R.I.F.Y.I.N.G. !!

Robots are now following up on their customer service?? (!!)

So I clicked on "Miserable" and was taken to a web page where I was asked, basically, why I rated the service so low.

So I typed my response with the assumption a human would read it (that was probably a mistake) and I'm now waiting to find out - robot ... human ... robot ... human ... robot ... human ...

Friday, June 23, 2017

Embassy Suites North Lynnwood Hilton - Hilton is SOOOO not what it used to be!

There was a time when Hilton was, at least in my eyes, the place to stay if you 'had money'. 

I remember when I was growing up hearing commercials that talked about the comfy robes and towels -- which are now more of a sandpaper quality.

As a matter of fact if you or a loved one has sensory issues do not plan on using Hilton's robes or towels.

I remember that their service was supposedly the best (I wouldn't know because we never stayed in one) and just simply that if you were anyone you stayed at the Hilton (remember these are memories from my childhood). ;o)

Sadly Hilton Hotels are no longer what they used to be.

They're still expensive of course (every hotel here that's even remotely close to Seattle is ridiculously expensive) but their service and quality, and even the safety of their guests, is no longer of importance.

Below is a 'raw' email between someone named Rachel at Hilton and myself. Unfortunately I don't have time right now to go through and make it 'not raw' but her minimal response to the laundry list of issues that I initially provided to them is telling in and of itself.

She finishes off by asking me to reach out to her so that she can address my concerns. I responded the same day she emailed me, one week ago today, and she still has not responded to my email. Poor customer service - if it can even be honestly referred to as 'service'.

Think twice if you plan on staying at the Embassy Suites Inn Hilton Hotels North Lynnwood Washington. In all honesty, based on our experiences as outlined below, your life could depend on your decision!

If you do stay there be sure to check the air intake filter, especially if you or anyone with you has asthma. Do the same if you stay at the Embassy Suites in Bellevue.

And assume that the furnishings/curtains/etc. in the floor are as dirty as that filter is. I didn't, my mistake, and I ended up having an asthma attack.

Okay here we go...

-----Original Message-----

From: Rachel Blake []
Sent: Friday, June 16, 2017 9:14 AM
To: Diane Dennis
Subject: Your stay at Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle North Lynnwood

Dear Diane Dennis:

Thank you for taking the time to fill out a survey on our hotel.  I am very sorry for your experience and Maddisyn has filled me in on some of your concerns regarding the lack of cleanliness and follow through.

As it relates to the alarm we put our team through regular training.  There was no actual problem with a fire and we were trying to confirm what triggered the alarm to insure our guests safety.  I am sorry but I don't know what you mean that our team risked their lives.

Please reach out to me so that I can address your concerns.

Rachel Blake
General Manager
Embassy Suites Seattle North Lynnwood 
[I removed her email address to keep it private]
[Same with her phone number]

My response, which as I said I sent a full week ago today.

Dear Rachel Blake,

Thank you for replying to my message.

In regard to the alarm, this is what happened...

The alarm started going off in our room and after hearing it about 5 times with no announcement I called down.

The lady who answered at the front desk said in a very hesitant (unsure) voice, in response to my question, "Yes but we're not sure yet if it's an emergency. Wait for an announcement that we'll be making once we know."

Then they make announcement a couple minutes later that the hotel does not know if it's an emergency or not and to wait for yet another announcement.

Then an announcement was made a couple minutes later that it was a false alarm and for the guests to return to their rooms. We were *never* instructed to leave our rooms, every statement was "wait for an announcement", so why in the world did she say "return to your rooms"?

It happened about 15 minutes or so before we checked out. We went to the elevators not thinking and tried to use them. They wouldn't work which we realized was in relation to the alarm, that was no longer sounding at that point, so we had to take four flights of stairs down for a *non-emergency* alarm. I have major hip problems which is why I use the elevator.

By this point I was SO angry with our experience and the people there that when I came to the front desk and the male there very chipper-like said "good morning" I responded with a much less chipper "good bye, room 456" and I walked out the door.

It wasn't until after we were outside that the firetruck showed up.

I asked the fireman who was driving the truck "isn't there some kind of law in Lynnwood that says this hotel should have done something other than tell their guests to 'wait for an announcement'" (twice no less), like maybe evacuate the guests?" He responded that yes it is law, we should have been evacuated, and he advised me that no matter where I'm at should an alarm go off to evacuate whether or not the establishment tells me to.

Your employees did NOT ensure your guests' safety in any way. The ONLY way to attempt to ensure their safety is to evacuate them. You readily admitted yourself in this email that no one knew what triggered the alarm. Does that not in and of itself call for an evacuation? Even the elevators were shut down.

It was yet another potentially life-threatening incident caused by your employees. This isn't the life-threatening incident I mentioned in my earlier message, that's yet another incident and it's explained below.

For crying out loud there's supposedly remodeling going on there. Apparently you all have no idea how seriously wrong things can go in construction... ?

Busted gas pipe, fire, broken water pipe, electricity problems, and so on. There should have been an evacuation in process BEFORE it was determined that there was no fire. NO ONE KNEW what set it off.

In case of alarm GET OUT and CALL 911.

There's NO acceptable excuse for not evacuating or at least starting the evacuation process when no one knows WHY the alarm is sounding. Trying to confirm that it's not an emergency while not evacuating is NOT ensuring your guests' safety.

The above is what I intend to notify the city and the fire department about.

The two employees that risked their lives and the lives of your guests...

You might not know this but the breakfast area is extremely small and there are constantly people bumping into each other, there's just no space in there (the area where the food is, not the seating area). Two employees came out and proceeded to stick a butter knife into the bread toaster to get something out. I saw it and asked in alarm "did you unplug that?" to which they nonchalantly responded "no".

Standing shoulder to shoulder with another guest we looked at each other, backed up, and practically begged them to stop all the while telling them what could happen. They didn't stop until they were done.

If they had been electrocuted I can guarantee you that one or more guests would have, unthinkingly, tried to 'rescue' these two employees - this was a potential tragedy in the making.

The guest standing next to me said something along the lines of "looks like the hotel hasn't done their training properly".

I hesitate to say who the two employees were for fear of any backlash they might receive. Their nonchalant answer makes it very clear that they were not trained properly, they had NO idea what they were risking, and it's not their fault it's the employer's fault.

That's what I plan on reporting to OSHA.

As far as other employees in the breakfast area, the guy who was responsible for making sure the food was out there was CLEARLY not happy about being there. He made promises to replenish food and fruit that was out but he didn't until quite some time later (the fruit never got replenished that I saw, only the bacon) and he was obviously very frustrated, even angry, every time someone handed him an order they'd written out even though he was the one that we were supposed to give our orders to. The only way to describe him since I don't know his name is that he's a midget or dwarf. I hate typing that because it feels discriminatory to describe him that way but I don't have his name. And it's probably not politically correct but again I have no other idea of how to describe him.

In the pool area you have some problems. The paint along the beam that runs across above the 'rock formation' for the pool is major-league blistered, pretty much around the entire room, and the paint that's above the waterfall has ripped through due to too much water. I have a picture.

In addition, the ceiling tiles have absorbed so much moisture that every single one of them is bowed in the center, primed to fall on your guests. I know ceiling tiles because I had a business doing suspended ceilings and I'm still involved in the construction industry. I have a picture.

That's another issue that I plan on reporting to the city and the fire department. If they turn out to be the wrong folks to report to they'll tell me who I do need to report it to.

The chair at the side of the pool for disabled guests is so incredibly rusted within the mechanism I'd be surprised if it even works or if it does work I'd be surprised if it works properly and doesn't flip a user into the pool. I have a picture. And as I'm typing this it frightens me that there could be electricity issues with that chair being in the shape it is and bolted down in standing water.

That's something for the ADA I believe, as well as probably the city and fire department.

Every bit of metal in the restroom that's in the pool area is completely rusted. I thought the hotel was under a remodel but we couldn't see anything new, only messes inside and out. It actually led us to surmise that the contractors aren't being paid and therefore work has stopped. True or not, that's the vibe...

The emergency poster on the wall in the pool area doesn't have the information on it that's legally required to be written in. I'm thinking that gets reported to OSHA possibly but certainly the city and fire department, and Washington state.

There's a paper note posted on the wall that states to use the emergency phone but the phone isn't there at the note. Unless you turn around and see it on another wall then you have no idea where it is.

I saw nothing in the stairwell next to the elevator that would have helped me to get down those stairs if I had been unable to get down there on my own two feet.

ADA and probably the city and fire department.

I phoned this location on three separate occasions to be certain that we'd be in a room where the window opens. First time was when I made the reservation and they told me no problem. Second time I called I was told that *some* rooms have windows that open so I specifically requested a room with a window that opens. Third time I called, for a different reason in relation to the reservation, I was told again that all rooms have windows that open.

15 minutes before we left (from Oak Harbor Whidbey Island), car all packed up, Maddisyn called me to tell me that the windows open only 6" and that I could cancel if I wanted without being charged.

I immediately started crying because this was supposed to be a very, very special trip for my two young-adult kids and myself (you have no idea how important this trip was). I told her that I couldn't cancel, there was no way, and that I'd have to deal with a window that opens only 6".

What I wasn't told was that there were no screens. I couldn't have the window open because of bugs coming in. Maddisyn has taken responsibility for not mentioning the lack of screens but I'm the one that had to deal with not being able to open the window the entire time I was there.

That first night I had an asthma attack in the middle of the night so the next day I started searching for dust. The air filter was massively clogged, I have pictures.

There was dust so thick on top of the pictures and mirrors that it literally fell off and floated to the ground in pieces, both when I did it and even when the housekeeping supervisor ran her finger across the surfaces.

The window sill was caked in dust. No doubt the curtains are full of dust unless they're taken down, washed, and replaced just like the sheets are, which I doubt.

This all caused my asthma attack. I had another one on the way home and I've been in bed for two days from heat exhaustion because of the heat in the room. Because the filter was so clogged there was minimal air flow. A closed window made it worse. I do not do well in heat, another of the reasons I need a window that opens, and I become physically ill when I get too warm. In addition it triggered a migraine.

There was trash in the room that wasn't ours (candy wrappers).

The door into the bathroom was absolutely filthy (the outside of the door).

The refrigerator wasn't working and they had to send someone up.

The second morning our toilet was a hair away from overflowing so they had to send someone up.

Later that afternoon when showering the water wouldn't drain so they had to send someone up. He had to use these long plier things to pull icky hair out of the drain and throw it in the toilet.

Then *I* had to give up *my* time with my kids in order to walk *YOUR* management through my hotel room to show them the messes "so that she [housekeeping manager] can take notes of all the issues and start a retraining process". That's what I was told, I have it in a text.

I was walking them through, giving up my time and opening up my private space to them, because they wanted to use what I showed them to better their training.

What? Where's my paycheck?

I mean come on... *I* have to train *them*?

This was supposed to be a wonderful, NON-STRESSFUL, time together after 7 years of a horrendous living nightmare.

I told Maddisyn to not send them up until 12:00. My kids didn't want to be in there during the training that I was recruited - for no pay - to do.

Yet there they were knocking at my door at 10:45 am. I sent them away and told them to come back at 12:00. Again breakdown in communication. A housekeeper/maid(?) showed up shortly after that. I tried to explain to her (English isn't her first language) that the others were coming back at 12:00. At that point her English became very clear when she told me that we wouldn't get any service after 12 because that's lunch time. ??

The door jamb in the bedroom was completely rusted across the top. The housekeeping manager explained that the room hadn't been remodeled yet. Um, okay... So that means it's okay to leave rust and stuff for guests to deal with? I don't blame her for that, I blame her boss. While we were out of the room they didn't something to cover it up but why did it take a guest complaining for it to be taken care of?

She had her supervisor with her. That man clearly did not want to be there and was rude about it both in his eye movements and the tone of his voice. In addition he snapped at her to "get back here" when they left my room. She had been headed for the stairwell I think, as opposed to the elevator.

Items that we'd been promised for our room hadn't been delivered. I misunderstood her and didn't realize that she was the one that Maddisyn asked to bring the items and I was trying to keep her from doing extra work (I thought it was someone else that would be bringing the items). It was during that confusion on my part that he snapped at her "Get back here!"

Not good at all. If he worked for me and treated any of my other employees that way he'd be out. I absolutely would not allow that. And to compound it by doing it in front of a guest?

The bathroom has a very slight musty smell to it. He couldn't smell it and was a smart-alek (for want of a better phrase) about it. I explained that I am very sensitive to odors and I suggested that even though he couldn't smell it that maybe it ought to be checked out before mold starts growing somewhere. He didn't care, again nothing but attitude from him.

It's overly humid in that suite, made clear by the rust on the metal in the bedroom... Rust ... mold ... both due to too much humidity/water... Seems to me that it would make sense to check it out, especially with the rust being present... ??  Apparently he knows better though...

I was not greeted as a Hilton Honors member and I was not provided a bag with water or any goodies, something I believe that Honors members are supposed to receive? And if not, they're at least supposed to greet Honors members as such? (I only know of the bag with 'goodies' because of the Bellevue location).

I don't really care about that, I don't drink bottled water, but it's in your survey so obviously you guys care about it so you should be told when it's not being done.

The curtains in the room didn't have one of the rods to open and close the curtains so they wouldn't close all the way. Minor complaint if it's a Best Western/Motel 6 but not okay in a HILTON.

Point being that inspections are not being done on these rooms to make sure they're up to snuff.

A lamp was major-league bent and the housekeeping manager's boss bent it back to where it belonged. Point being, again, inspections are not being done on these rooms.

When I first arrived and called down because Maddisyn's promise that certain items would be in our room hadn't been fulfilled the front desk told me that she wrote it down but that she wrote it down wrong. I have no idea where the breakdown in communication is between your employees but they obviously aren't understanding each other.

We *never* did receive the additional robe that we asked for (there were 3 adults in that suite, not 2). Your website should allow for a person to ask for more than 2 of the complimentary items such as the robes at least when there are more adults than two. We gave up on it and told them to forget it.

When I called down again about something else I called probably 8 times and every single time the phone went automatically from ringing to music (on hold) with no voice asking if I would hold. Finally someone answered.

That is a classic example of taking care of potential customers while putting the 'already' customer on the back burner - an all too common, yet still unacceptable, practice amongst most large businesses.

When a guest gets into his/her room they receive a very polite text message asking about their stay. They receive very polite responses to their replies back. Unless the guest has a complaint.

I sent a text that asked "Is Madison in yet this morning?" and didn't receive a response. So then I texted a question mark. I received a response back and it was most definitely not in the polite manner that the other messages were.

Drew Gunderson's response to the above question: "Not yet" (that's all, just "Not yet" - and his name).

That less than polite response angered me further over and above everything that was going on so I started sending him pictures of my room. His next response: "What room are you in" (again, that's it, not even any punctuation in either message, no apologies, no nothing).

In regard to the window they weren't reading my multiple messages properly. I kept telling them that yes the window opens but there's no screen. They would respond with "the engineer says that the window in there does open". I finally went back with "You guys aren't understanding me. Yes it opens BUT there's no screen which means bugs!"

I get a text message from Drew Gunderson on Monday at 11:46 saying he was just checking in to see how our stay was going so far and feel free to reply with a 1 through 10, have a great day, yada yada yada.

My text response: "Oh my gosh! Communication people! Talk to Madisyn."

A male guest was fuming while on the elevator with us because according to him breakfast had been served until 10:30 on Sunday morning so they thought it was the same on Monday. By the time they got down there it was 9:00 and he was major-league tweaked that "they flat out shut down at 9 sharp!". He said they didn't tell him. I know it's on the check-in info but I didn't volunteer that because, as I said, he was fuming and I sure wasn't going to say anything about it other than to agree with him that they ought to be clearer in their communication to their guests.

Rachel, I don't believe that I've yet touched on everything that took place while we were there. Is the above enough to help you to understand that there is a problem with that location?

More than one actually. Communication is a problem, the pool area is a problem, the confusion on the alarm is a problem, the breakfast area is a problem, training of staff is a problem... need I go on?

For the positive:

The room service was spot-on, the food was great, and those folks were INCREDIBLY polite - so much so that it was as if the restaurant were an entirely different establishment separate from the hotel, meaning, not located in the hotel.

The two employees that risked everything with electricity were so thankful to me for telling them what could happen to them.

That incident scared me so much that I went back to my table to make sure that my own two young adult kids knew not to do that. I was sure I'd taught them but seeing that really scared me. They reminded me that indeed I had taught them that.

Every employee that I came across in the hallways, elevators, etc. was extremely polite (excepting the guy I mentioned in the breakfast area and the one housekeeper/maid telling me I'd get nothing after 12).

There are major issues with this location and potential guests, and the city, need to know about it.

Thank you Rachel,
Diane Dennis

PS: Another concern... I opened the receipt from Hilton on my phone. The next morning I had virus warnings on my phone. I contacted Verizon to get help and they asked me what was the last thing I did on my phone. It was opening that receipt. My concern is that the hotel's internet system is not secure and possibly a virus is somewhere within it. I haven't opened it on my computer because I'm concerned it'll get my computer next. I don't know for a fact that it's that email but it was the last thing I did and Verizon said that whatever the last thing I did was, it was 'probably' what introduced the virus. Please note that I don't see anything negative about the hotel in regard to this. So many computers, even in super large organizations, have been infected and attacked lately. It wouldn't be surprising if it happened to hotels. I just wanted to mention that so that you can have your IT guys check it out, if you wish, just to be certain. I didn't use the wi-fi while there, I used my data and mobile hotspot, so I know it didn't get me that way. Again I have no idea whether it came thru the hotel's email system or not, even though Verizon seems to think it did, I just want to make you aware of it.

... and ... cue the Jeopardy song(!) ... while I wait for a response that no doubt won't come until she's aware of this post.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Albertsons and Haggen and Safeway … Oh CRAP!

File this under #WellThisSUCKS … 

Haggen took over the Safeway store and Safeway, because it would make them more money, took out Albertsons and replaced it with Safeway.

Expensive food at Haggen, prices raised ridiculously at Safeway, and now Saar's is in on the action. Hey if one grocery store can gouge our citizens then why not all of them?

No surprise with Saar's considering their family history but come on!

Anyhow, we're all screwed now because Safeway decided they'd make more money with a Safeway here than an Albertsons. 

How do I know it's so that they could make more money?

Well, first of all the employees have let it be known. Okay, chalk that up to disgruntled employees.

BUT, when I contacted Safeway direct they told me that they decided to change Albertsons to Safeway because … Albertsons wasn't doing so well in that spot.

Okaaaay but umm… 

Then why would a Safeway do any better in that spot?

Safeway KNEW all along that whatever store was in that location was going to start cranking in business because it would be less expensive than Haggen. 

So Safeway took away the less expensive groceries by killing the Albertsons store and is now sticking it to our locals by charging more than they even were before and laughing all the way to the bank.

And Safeway's response in regard to what we do with our gas rewards now that they took the gas station away? …

Thank you for your feedback Diane! We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. Unfortunately, gas rewards cannot be applied in any other way. We will be sure to forward your comments to our Fuel Promotions Department for further review and consideration.

Oh My Freakin' Gawd!! Anyone who reads my posts knows that I cannot stand the phrase "we apologize for any inconvenience"! That is such a slap in a customer's face to use that phrase.

Safeway STILL knows nothing about good customer service!

Here's hoping that Haggen's empty parking lot will turn into an empty storefront and maybe we can get a better grocery store than Safeway, like the greater chains in other areas of Washington, and not have to cut our food intake in half because of groceries that are now twice as expensive due to Safeway's greed.

Update: Mon Aug 17

Haagen's still has an empty parking lot while parking spaces can't be found in the Safeway (ex-Albertson's) parking lot. Albertson's would have cranked if they'd kept it and we'd paying slightly less for our groceries. Such a non-customer-centric move to make customers pay more when they could have made customer goodwill by keeping the Albertson's (or not raising Safeway's prices - they just want to make more money off of our backs

Rant over … for now… ;)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dairy Queen in Oak Harbor Washington

Dairy Queen puts out a pretty good burger when it's made correctly.  Unfortunately their service takes forever.

I can be in line at Dairy Queen with two cars ahead of me and it still takes longer to get through than it does the Wendy's across the street when there are 5 cars ahead of me.

And when I get to the window and am asked to pull forward simply because the person behind me ordered only ice cream my first thought is "I've waited all this time in line and now you want me to pull forward?" and then I think "Well don't make their ice cream until they're at the window" (they shouldn't be making it ahead of time anyway) and then I pull forward.

Again I (we, my son is always with me) sat there forever before they brought out our food.  They don't stick around to make sure the food is right so if it's wrong (when is it not?) then you have to get out of your car and go in (I'm in drive-thru and there's a reason for it and it's difficult to get out and go in).

Of course the food was wrong so I had to get out.  I just walked up to their drive-thru window right where the other customers were and gave my food back to the clerk and told her it was wrong.

So we sat and waited forever again.  They finally brought our food out and again didn't stand there to make sure all was correct.

As we were driving around the front of the place to leave the parking lot my son was checking the food.  I was actually surprised to find out that they had gotten it wrong AGAIN!

So once again I had to get out, this time I went into the store, and told them that it was made wrong again.  I actually had to stand there and tell the manager what we ordered and she hand wrote it down to take it back there and get it right.

We were so frustrated.  By then what should have been a 15 minute trip had turned into a 45 minute trip.

I later emailed Dairy Queen corporate about a promotion and asked whether or not our local DQ would be participating.  As usual they were not, they seem to never participate in the promotions that DQ corporate emails to me.

Filling in that form was frustrating because it requires you to indicate when you visited (date and time). My email wasn't about a visit so I didn't have anything to put in there.  But the form would not submit without it so I had to put false information in just to get my message through.

In that same email I mentioned how terrible the service is at Dairy Queen and that our experience has been that the employees at this DQ are the worst of the worst in Oak Harbor (there are a couple exceptions and I have more than once complimented those employees for their excellent service).  What I didn't mention in that email is that the employees are often downright rude.

At any rate corporate forwarded my email to the local DQ and I received the following letter from the president of this particular DQ location.

Here's an image of the letter:

Below is the email I sent back to him and to corporate:

After this exchange, literally the same day or next I believe, all of a sudden there was someone named Ivy posting comments here that were direct attacks on me, very rude, and then she also attacked my other commenters or rather was rude to them and bragged about how much money she made off of Netflix stock and "thanking" my commenters (who aren't happy with Netflix) for using Netflix because she made all of that money because they're using Netflix.

I responded in kind and eventually she went away.  I do believe my final post to her busted her.  She's tied into Dairy Queen in one way or another (or it's not even a she and rather it's that president pretending to be "Ivy").  I looked at the Google+ profile for this "Ivy" and it was completely empty.  Kind of suspect...

Here are a couple links:

"Ivy" dissing me about McDonalds and fast food in general (When you get there scroll to the first "Ivy" post and then read down from there)

"Ivy" dissing my visitors who left comments at my Netflix page (When you get there scroll to the first "Ivy" and read down from there)

So anyhow, the president of the Dairy Queen in Oak Harbor Washington Donald A. Dreyer (funny ... he works at Dairy Queen and has the last name Dreyer - isn't that another ice cream brand?) has shown that he doesn't know how to handle customer service properly which most likely explains why the customer service at his store is so bad, it's what he teaches his employees from the manager on down.

I definitely would have handled a complaint from my own customer in a much different manner.

It's all actually really a bummer because when they do it right they put out a terrific burger.

Over and out ... I'm hungry for a good burger now but I'm looking at a plate of apples and grapes.  hmmm, not quite the same thing (but hey it didn't take 45 minutes to get it right!). ;)

Have a great day!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Brocato Vibrastrait Hair Smoother / Straightener comes with POOR customer service!

Just a quick post as I have many things to do today...

Brocato Hair - I bought a Vibrastrait vibrating hair smoother / straightener a little over a year ago and it comes with a 3-year warranty.

It stopped working.  It was close to $200.

Brocato wants me to waste my time (and money) at UPS to pay for a shipping box, then pay to ship their no-longer-working Vibrastrait vibrating smoother / straightener back to them, then go to the store and buy a new hair straightener / hair smoother while I wait for my replacement vibrating smoother straightener iron from Brocato.

Normally yeah, I understand the need to send something back to get a replacement.

But when the cost to send it back and then purchase a replacement until they send me one of their replacements puts me to the financial point where I might as well purchase a new Brocato Vibrastrait hair smoother / straightener then it's time to speak up.

The video of my no-longer-working Brocato Hair Vibrastrait vibrating Hair Smoother / Straightener:

Sadly now my hair is anything but smooth... :(

Way to go Brocato Hair with your Vibrastrait vibrating (NOT) hair smoother / straightener!  Poor Customer Service at its finest!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Maybe this blog should be renamed to McDonald's Poor Customer Service!

When I started this blog it was specifically to highlight poor customer service in all areas of business.

But now I'm starting to think that maybe it should be "McDonald's Poor Customer Service"!

I have never worked at McDonald's (I was a Del Taco girl) so I've never seen the McDonald's policy manual but I do believe I figured out today what the first section of that manual is designed to teach their employees ...

This is how I see it in my mind:

There's a picture of a person (man or woman or even both) with plastic smiles on their faces and below the picture is the phrase "Please Pull Forward". And all of the employees have mirrors to look into as they practice, practice, and practice some more at keeping their plastic smile straight while speaking the McDonald's tag line "Please Pull Forward".

That HAS to be the first thing in the manual because I'll tell you what, they sure have that phrase and fake smile down!
Remember when they had timers at the drive thru windows that would beep when the customer had been sitting at the window for a certain amount of time? The timer was reset for every customer and the goal was to get every customer served and gone before the timer buzzed/dinged/whatever.

That way the managers (store managers up to top area managers up to the top McDonald's execs) would have an idea of which stores were serving customers well and which were not so that they knew which stores to try to help to better their speed and service.

Well, eventually that's where the "Please Pull Forward" phrase came from. When the McDonald's employee saw that the timer was close to dinging/buzzing they would ask the customer to pull forward.

That would reset the timer so as far as the managers and execs knew, the customers were being served within the time frame that McDonald's wanted.

Then when customers started refusing to pull forward (I almost NEVER pull forward when it's cardboard cutout food that is all the same anyway) McDonald's then started giving out cards for free Big Macs to every driver that they asked to pull forward.

When they started doing that then I didn't mind pulling forward. I figured that at least they were acknowledging that they didn't meet the expectations and they were attempting to compensate me in some small way for their incompetence in being able to keep serving their customers efficiently.
Why was I asked to pull forward this time?

FRENCH FRIES and HAMBURGERS!!!!! Because they didn't have enough ready for their customers.

Come on McDonald's!! Pull forward to wait for french fries and hamburgers??

So I asked "No one behind me ordered fries?" and "No one behind me ordered hamburgers?"

The McDonald's manager told me that she had enough french fries for a medium order but because we had large orders they didn't have enough french fries for us. !!!

And, according to her, no one ordered the same hamburgers that we did.


I've seen the burger patties sitting in bins already cooked. So what the heck??

AND, it's 5:22 pm, the dinner hour. Can't McDonald's manage their 'stock' better, can't they better predict how much food they're going to need?

So anyhow we pulled forward and waited, and waited. How long does it take to cook french fries, especially when it's one of your main food products?

They brought our food out and we dug through the bags to make sure they had it right and then came home.

When I'm being bad and I get a Big Mac instead of a salad I try to be a little good by getting rid of the extra bread in it and replacing it with another hamburger patty.

So I opened the box that the patty was in and this is what was there:

McDonald's Oak Harbor Washington image of their food quality (quality?)

How DISGUSTING is that??

When I put the patty (hah, more like crumbled ground beef ([beef?]) into my Big Mac it was in about 7 pieces! Since when did McDonald's start selling sauceless sloppy-joes?

And really, can anybody say (and be telling the truth) that a McDonald's employee did not purposely squish that burger before crushing it into the box? It's just too darn obvious that someone did it on purpose.

Plus you can see that the box that the squished burger patty was in was not dented, crushed, bent, or anything.

So the hamburger patty was destroyed before it was put into the box. Or at the very least it was intentionally put into the box by an employee who was very much aware of what it looked like.

Heck it was in 7 pieces so he/she had to hold all of the pieces in their hand to put it in the box or they put individual pieces in one at a time. Either way, they KNEW that they were serving an unacceptable product. What they didn't know is that I'd post a picture of it online. ;)
I've often been warned about the employees spitting in my food when I complain when I don't get what I ordered. After seeing this mashed up excuse for a burger patty, I think that I probably should put more stock into that spit warning.
What happened to customer service, GOOD customer service?? I don't get it!!

Is it that there are so many people in the world that are willing to accept poor customer service, simply because they don't know what good customer service is because they haven't experienced it, that it doesn't matter if business is lost when a customer that expects (and has the right to) good customer service but doesn't get it decides to no longer frequent the merchant?

Or, possibly the case here (in Oak Harbor WA) is that there are SO FEW fast-food restaurants in our area that if we want fast food we have no choice but to put up with whatever rotten customer service is being served with the not-so-fast fast food.

And don't pull forward! If you ever have pulled forward, have you paid attention to how many cars are taken care of before they finally bring your food out to you? And when they inevitably get the wrong food in the bag, unless you can get the employee to stand there while you check it out so that you can let her/him know if something is wrong, then you have to get out of your car and walk in the store.

Walk into the store? I'm in DRIVE-THRU!! I don't want to go inside the store, that's why I did drive-thru!

One time after I got my bag of food I then pulled around to the back of the McDonald's parking lot (not a lot of parking spaces) and I parked and checked my food.

As expected, it wasn't right.

Did I get out and walk in?

No way!

I pulled out my trusty phone, did a search for the McDonald's phone number, and I called them from my car, told them they got my order wrong and to please bring out the correct food.

They had to walk all the way to the back of the parking lot to bring me the proper food. I don't feel bad about it because darnit I paid for something and I should have received it and since I didn't receive it, it's their responsibility to make sure I get what I paid for.

And would you believe that they STILL got it wrong? She had to go back inside and then come back to me again. OMG(osh)!

I'll sign off simply with ...

Please pull forward (and marvel over my plastic smile while you wait for me to put my next blog post together). ;)

And don't forget to check your bag for the fries (and the burgers and the cheese and the sauces for the nuggets and the dressings for the salads and the straws and the napkins and the list goes on! ;)

Thursday, January 05, 2012

McDonald's Oak Harbor poor service strikes again!

First let me start this post by saying that if it weren't for my kids, I wouldn't even be eating at McDonald's. But I am and the McDonald's in Oak Harbor is pretty bad about getting everything in the bags so here I am talking about McDonald's again...

I ordered the kids' food and then my chicken caesar salad.

I asked at the window, just like I always do but in a more pleading tone this time, please are you sure that everything is in the bag because last time I ordered caesar dressing I ended up with some kind of balsamic vinegar dressing?

Three (THREE!!) employees, one of them a manager, assured me that everything was in the bag.

Of course we took the time to sort through the bags (because our experience with McDonald's Oak Harbor and pretty much all McDonald's locations dictates that we check the bags) but there was a car behind us so to be polite I pulled forward as we checked the food.

Of course (!) my caesar dressing wasn't there!!

There was no longer a car behind us so I backed up to the window and told them in no uncertain terms how displeased that I was that my dressing wasn't in the bag especially after three of them told me that everything was in the bags.

The manager herself argued with me and told me that she put it in the bag. I snapped back at her that no it was not in the bag! When she continued to doubt me I offered her the bag so that she could check it.

Instead she went and grabbed a dressing, handed it to me and said "Sorry".

What?? Sorry?? Come on!!

I grumbled something at her about being tired of this from McDonald's and again she said "Sorry".

I can definitely say that "I'm Lovin It" NOT!!


See my review at:

McDonald's on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 02, 2011

AVAS Flowers does not deliver even though they say they do

I ordered a beautiful and unusual (very artist-y) flower arrangement for my daughter to be delivered to her today as a congratulations for her graduation yesterday from college.

I kept waiting for her to text me to let me know that she had received them (she didn't know they were coming).

No text all day. When she got home I asked her if she received a delivery. No she had not.

What the heck? AVAS was supposed to deliver today but did not. They also didn't give me a call or send me an email to let me know that it wouldn't be delivered.

Why is this the way of customer service these days?

I will NEVER order from AVAS again and based on the complaints I've read about them this evening (not delivering what was supposed to be delivered) I'd recommend that no one else use them either.

Posted at the AVAS website: "We are one of the Top Ranked Florists in the country and considered by many people to be simply the best!"

What?? Top Ranked?? By who??

Oh wait a minute, that's right, with customer service in the tank like it is they very well could be top ranked (how difficult can it be to rank tops in a category such as "poor customer service"??)

On the bright side, YAY SHELBY (my daughter) CONGRATULATIONS!! :) I love you!! :)

AND ... It's back to ProFlowers for me. Why I strayed to begin with I have no idea as I have ALWAYS had excellent flowers and service from ProFlowers. I won't make the mistake again of straying from ProFlowers.

Monday, October 17, 2011

PriceGrabber raises rates for holiday sales period

PriceGrabber shouted a loud and clear BAH HUMBUG when they sent out an email to their advertisers with the message that it is raising its advertising fees across the board for the holiday sales period.

By 25%!!!

Oh, and they're doing it as a benefit to me and all of their customers. Pffft...

Here's a copy and paste of their email:

Dear PriceGrabber Partner

Effective November 1, 2011, PriceGrabber will apply a temporary 25% cost per click increase adjustment across all subcategories. This holiday adjustment is temporary and will go through January 15, 2012. Past holiday seasons have shown increased performance in terms of both traffic and conversion to sale. Hence, customer acquisition costs are expected to stay consistent with previous periods going into and throughout the holiday season. Additionally, the holiday CPC adjustment is created to offset rising costs to bring you the most qualified shopper during this period.

Please note this adjustment will take place on November 1st without any required action on your part. You will be able to view these changes in your merchant login on Tuesday, October 18th. We appreciate your partnership and look forward to this holiday season! Please do not hesitate to contact your PriceGrabber representative. You are welcome to reply to this e-mail and it will be directed to the appropriate PriceGrabber representative.


The PriceGrabber Team

Way to show your customers, those who pay to keep you in business, that you really care about them PriceGrabber!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Visits to McDonald's Oak Harbor

A visit to McDonald's Oak Harbor:

Me: Is everything in the bag, dips, fries, all the burgers, etc. 
Cashier/Bagger: Yeah, everything is there.
Me: (sorting through the bags) We didn't get our french fries.
Cashier/Bagger: Are you sure?
Me: Yes I'm sure.
Cashier/Bagger: Are you sure?  I'm sure they're in there.
Me: No they're not here, want to look in the bags? 
Cashier/Bagger: No. Sorry, I don't bag the food, I just hand it out.
Me: What ?? Then why did you say that it was all in there...

Another visit to McDonald's Oak Harbor:

Me: Is everything here? 
Cashier/Bagger: I don't know, I didn't bag it.
Me: ? 

Another visit to McDonald's Oak Harbor:

Me: Is everything in here?
Cashier/Bagger: I don't know, I just bagged it.
Me: WHAT? You put the food in the bag but you don't know if it's all here? 

Another visit to McDonald's Oak Harbor:

Cashier/Bagger: (After handing me some bags of food) ... Okay, we're waiting on your fries, please pull forward and we'll bring them out to you. 
Me: Why, the guy behind me didn't order fries? 
Cashier/Bagger: Yeah, they ordered fries.
Me: Well if you don't have fries for me then you don't have fries for him. So there's no need for me to pull forward right?

Another visit to McDonald's Oak Harbor:

Going through the bags at home and they forgot to give me my salad dressing for my salad!  I called, and the manager who answered assured me that he'd get my name in the book for a replacement.  And blamed the poor packing on another manager.

Go in at a later date to get my replacement and my name was not added to the book.  After much hulla-baloo another manager finally gave me my replacement.

After another visit to McDonald's Oak Harbor, I discovered that they forgot our chicken nuggets.  I called and a lady manager answered.  She was the one who couldn't find my name in the book for salad.

I told her that they didn't give us our nuggets.  She said that she'd put my name in the book but that if my name wasn't in the book whenever I come in to get my nuggets, then I wouldn't get my nuggets.  What??  I asked her to repeat that and I did understand her the first time.  If the manager got side-tracked and didn't get my name entered in the book then next time I go in I won't get my nuggets!  Since when is the customer responsible for the manager's blow-it?

See my review at:
McDonald's on Urbanspoon